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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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Ancient Royal Boat Tomb Uncovered in Egypt

Drawings of watercraft cover the walls of a building where a king’s funeral boat was buried some 3,800 years ago.

By A. R. Williams
PUBLISHED November 7, 2016

Beneath the golden sands west of the Nile, at the ancient Egyptian sacred site of Abydos, archaeologists have made an extraordinary discovery: a whole fleet of boats that were sketched onto the interior walls of a subterranean mud-brick boat chamber in about 1840 B.C.

The structure was part of the mortuary complex of a 12th-dynasty king named Senwosret III, whose tomb lies nearby. This unique find reveals new details about how the rituals of the king’s funeral may have played out. It also suggests that an age-old royal burial tradition was still honored here, though that would soon fade as radically different funerary practices came into fashion.

The structure was first noticed during the winter of 1901-02, when British archaeologist Arthur Weigall exposed the barrel-vaulted roof as well as the tops of the interior walls. There he got the first glimpse of the building’s boat-themed decoration. But the central part of the roof collapsed as his crew excavated the sand from under it, putting an end to the project.


Chile residents push beached whale back out to sea

Chile residents push beached whale back out to sea
By Ben Hooper | Nov. 7, 2016 at 4:41 PM
Residents of Arica, Chile, help a beached whale get back out to sea.

ARICA, Chile, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Residents of a city in Chile banded together to push a beached whale back into the water and tow it away using a boat.

A video of the incident Thursday in Arica shows residents pushing the 20-foot whale from the sand on Los Gringos beach back into the water.

A boat eventually joined the effort and towed the whale to deeper waters.

Witnesses said the whale appeared to have some minor injuries, likely from rocks near the beach, but was able to swim once it entered deep enough waters.


(Short article, no more at link.)

Environment & Energy:


Why Woodpeckers Don't Get Headaches

The birds have some clever adaptations to keep their noggins safe.

Picture of red-headed woodpecker in Nebraska

A red-headed woodpecker works on a tree in Nebraska. The birds have skulls specially
suited to hard labor.

Photograph by Joel Sartore

By Liz Langley
PUBLISHED November 5, 2016

During election season, everyone can relate to woodpeckers: We all feel like banging our heads against the wall.

The birds handle it better, though, so Weird Animal Question of the Week was pleased to look into Derek Halas’ question: “Why don’t woodpeckers get headaches?”

Little Drummer Bird

It's a tough one to answer, says Walter Koenig, an ornithologist at Cornell University via email. But, he says, if pecking caused pain and injury, “presumably they wouldn’t be around for very long"—a hurt bird would likely succumb to predators.

There are more than 300 species of woodpeckers worldwide, and they peck wood for a variety of reasons: To excavate nest cavities, dig for insects or sap, or create holes to store food.


Once thought a fake, the Grolier Codex is our oldest surviving record of Maya civilization

Once thought a fake, the Grolier Codex is our oldest surviving record of Maya civilization

The Conversation

Pages from the Grolier Codex, rare surviving fragments of the Maya past. (Enrico Ferorelli)

he Maya were, at their height, one of the world’s great civilisations. In the “classic” period, from AD 250–900, Maya cities with monumental architecture and huge populations spread across a large area through what is now Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and western Honduras. Extensive trade networks connected the Maya to the rest of Mesoamerica, producing the dynamic landscapes and bustling ports reported in early Spanish accounts.

Much of what we know of the Maya comes from codices – screenfold books made of paper from the bark of a fig tree. Pages were coated in a white stucco wash and then painted by scribes with text, which was often accompanied by images. The Spanish in the 16th century reported a flourishing manuscript tradition comprising histories, prophecies, songs, genealogies and detailed information on the movements of the heavenly bodies.

Of the thousands of books produced throughout the Mayas’ long history, however, only three Maya codices were known to have survived, all written in the “postclassic” period after AD 900 and brought to Europe sometime after the conquest. They are named after the cities where they were archived: Dresden, Madrid, and Paris. Now, after years of debate over its authenticity, we can add a fourth manuscript – the Grolier Codex.

The last Maya codices

Information in the surviving codices is presented as either tables or almanacs. Tables record historical events in the absolute calendar system used by the Maya, known as the Long Count, in which time is reckoned after a fixed date. Our Gregorian calendar reckons similarly in that years are counted after the birth of Christ. The Maya counted from a day which in the Gregorian calendar is August 11, 3114 BC. Almanacs on the other hand are organised around the 260-day calendar used throughout Mesoamerica for keeping track of named days for various events. Unlike the Long Count, this 260-day calendar is cyclical, like our own repeated cycles of named weekdays and months.


Adidas is making a million pairs of its much-anticipated sneakers created from recycled ocean plasti

Marc Bain
1 hour ago

For more than a year, Adidas has been teasing the release of a shoe made almost entirely from discarded plastic fished out of the oceans. It revealed its first prototype of the sustainable sneaker, created in collaboration with environmental organization Parley for the Oceans, in June 2015. Finally, in mid-November, the first mass-produced quantity—7,000 pairs, to be exact—will go on sale, and according to Adidas, that’s just the start.

“We will make one million pairs of shoes using Parley Ocean Plastic in 2017—and our ultimate ambition is to eliminate virgin plastic from our supply chain,” Eric Liedtke, an Adidas executive board member responsible for global brands, said in a Nov. 4 statement.

The initial batch of sneakers, called the UltraBoost Uncaged Parley, will be made of 95% plastic debris, such as bottles and packaging, that has been reprocessed into a new textile. Parley captured the litter in the coastal areas of the Maldives. The remaining 5% of the sneaker is recycled polyester, and the laces, heel lining, and other parts are made of recycled materials as well. The sneakers also feature Adidas’ popular Boost sole.

Adidas’s goal of removing all virgin plastic from its supply chain is ambitious, but certainly worthy. One study concluded the equivalent of 136 billion milk jugs are dumped in the oceans each year, and the material doesn’t break down. More recycling efforts are needed, and since plastic, usually in the form of polyester, is a main component of a great deal of apparel and footwear, Adidas’ project with Parley offers a smart way to turn the problem into a resource.


Argentine Indigenous Group Demand Macri Explain Armed Break-In

Argentine Indigenous Group Demand Macri Explain Armed Break-In

Hundreds participated in a recent march to request the liberation of Milagro Sala in
Buenos Aires, Feb. 17, 2016. | Photo: EFE

Published 4 November 2016 (4 hours 43 minutes ago)

. . .

Argentina's Indigenous Tupac Amaru organization said Friday that three people with automatic weapons stormed their headquarters and demanded they cease their struggle to free their leader, Milagro Sala.

The organization pointed blame at President Mauricio Macri and demanded an immediate explanation from the government.

The incident occurred after the Committee for Freedom of Milagro Sala installed a tent in Plaza de Mayo to demand President Macri comply with a resolution issued by the United Nations' Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions free Sala.


Peru: Fire Ravages Community of Amazon Natives in Lima

Peru: Fire Ravages Community of Amazon Natives in Lima
by Associated Press
Nov 4 2016, 4:23 pm ET

A fast-moving fire has destroyed Lima's only community of Amazon natives, devouring nearly 300 simple wooden homes just 10 blocks from the Peruvian capital's presidential palace and parliament.

Authorities report one serious injury, a child with burns who was hospitalized.

The fire broke out early Friday in Cantagallo, home to more than 3,000 Shipibo indigenous people. Officials say 46 people were treated for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters tried to douse the flames, but water was in short supply and narrow streets impeded their access. Residents say the fire started near workshops where clothes, suitcases and shoes are made and where there were inflammable chemicals.

Cantagallo was founded in 2000 and its older residents hail from an Amazon region battered by the country's 1980-2000 internal conflict.


[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
The Shipibo

The Shipibo are one of the largest tribes in Peru’s Amazon with a population of approximately 35,000 – 38,000 people. Their ancestral territory runs north and south of Pucallpa, a jungle city on the Ucayali River. The Ucayali is a large river originating from the Andes Mountains that joins the Amazon River in Northern Peru. The Shipibo live in at least 150 small communities along the Ucayali River, its tributaries and oxbow lakes. Communal living in multiple family groups is the traditional way in which the Shipibo have lived for many generations. In the past, the three groups the Shipibo, Konibo, and Xetebo were considered separate tribes. Today, they are blended into one group after years of intermarriage. They are related culturally and are of the same linguistic family, the Pano. They are most often simply referred to as the Shipibo or the Shipibo Konibo tribe.

The Shipibo were never conquered by the Inca Empire and they resisted colonization by Spanish priests who began appearing in the rainforest around 1600. The Franciscan priests eventually established a settlement in Shipibo territory by the present port city of Pucallpa. Pucallpa is in the central area of the Shipibo territory and grew rapidly in the early 1900’s during the time of the rubber boom. Then in the 1950’s missionaries descended upon the Shipibo with intense efforts to convert them to Christianity. There is still a strong missionary presence around Pucallpa.



Shipibo man

Historical photograph

Shipibo ceramics

Ceremonial dress [/center]

Don’t We All Need a Friend? On the Meaning of Dogs

November 2, 2016
by Stephen Cooper

“Friend” is a reddish-brown submarine of a dog not unlike a cross between a miniature Jersey cow and tan Easter Bunny. His extra long hash-brown colored ears, silkier than satin, frame his stoic, bovine face. Friend cuts an imposing figure based on bulk — but he’s a gentle giant — and that’s why my wife and I decided to call him “Friend” not “Frank,” as he was named by the rescue organization from which we adopted him.

Dog people (“people of the dog,” dog lovers — whatever you want to call them — they’re a large cross-section of humanity in this country) smile when they see Friend lumbering down the street, taking my wife, or me, or both of us, for a walk. Passersby on foot and in cars often stare in admiration and point at Friend — especially when they hear him hound. Friend’s distinctive bay comes from deep in his diaphragm and his throat is thick with muscles capable of producing a high-decibel type “whoop-whooping” that provokes droll imitation by children and adults (who really are too old for that kind of thing, especially leaning out their car windows).

Friend is a red-tick coonhound who, not long before we adopted him, was found wandering all alone in a field in Pennsylvania. The rescue organization speculated he was two years old, and the abandoned hunting dog of an obviously abusive owner. Sadly, Friend bears telltale signs of maltreatment. A white scar circles his massive head like a misshapen ivory necklace — the outline of a dog collar once allowed (or worse, forced) to embed in the loose folds of skin that hang about Friend’s massive neck. Also, Friend’s back right leg, once fractured — perhaps chasing prey while hunting — healed improperly and without proper care, resulting in Friend’s early development of arthritis and a permanent limp when he walks. Sometimes Friend forgets his leg is hurt and suddenly, when the spirit moves him, he’ll hop when he barks, punctuating his howl. And amazingly, even now, at the stately age of about 9, there are times Friend will unexpectedly jolt forward at Olympic speed triggered by an odiferous whiff in the air, a fire hydrant, a trashcan, or any communal point of canine urinary correspondence.

Despite an inauspicious start in life, like all dogs, Friend doesn’t dwell on past misfortunes.


Magneuptychia pax: New butterfly name dedicated to the Colombian peace process

Magneuptychia pax: New butterfly name dedicated to the Colombian peace process

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos (C) and Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (2L) are shown a collection of natural history books at the Darwin Centre at the Natural History Museum on November 2, 2016 in London. The President of the Republic of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos and his wife Maria Clemencia Rodriguez de Santos are paying their first State Visit to the UK as official guests of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. Jack Taylor / POOL / AFP.

By Lisa Hendry

LONDON.- Scientists have identified a distinctive new species of ringlet butterfly and named it Magneuptychia pax in recognition of the ongoing peace process in Colombia, where the butterfly lives

The species epithet pax means peace in Latin.

The butterfly was discovered by a team of experts from Colombia, Peru, USA and the UK, led by Dr Blanca Huertas, Senior Curator of butterflies at the Museum. Their findings are published in the scientific journal Conservación Colombiana.

The team announced the new species name on a day of significant talks between UK and Colombian delegations about biodiversity, sustainability and scientific collaboration, hosted by the Museum.

Dr Huertas says, 'The name of this butterfly, Magneuptychia pax, is dedicated to the peace process in Colombia and to every person affected by a conflict that has lasted more than five decades, including in the remote forests that this butterfly inhabits.


Solidarity From Cuba, Courtesy of the Revolution

Solidarity From Cuba, Courtesy of the Revolution
November 2, 2016
by W. T. Whitney

Cuba may soon turn out to be a helpful neighbor to the United States. U. S. barriers have prevented that from happening. But bi-national relations are improving and there are signs that Cuba is primed to lend a hand.

For example, Catherine Conley of Chicago arrived in Cuba on August 26, 2016 to study dance at the National School of Ballet, emblematic among Cuba’s highly-developed teaching programs in the arts. The recent high school graduate, who has been dancing since she was three, will be there for a year. She joins tens of thousands of young people from all over who arrive in Cuba to add to their education.

For ten years Catherine Conley studied dance at the Ruth Page Center in Chicago. She’s participated in summer programs in Boston, New York, and London. The Center in 2015 carried out a student exchange program with the Cuban Ballet School. After participating, Catherine received a scholarship to study dance in Cuba.

The young dancer told a Cuban interviewer that she rejected further dance training in the United States, Europe, or Russia in favor of the Cuban school. In Cuba, she observed, “there’s a very big appreciation for the arts, which I realized the first time I came here … It’s so wonderful that there’s a (television) channel dedicated solely to ballet complete with classes. We don’t have that in the United States.”

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